Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cross country time again

Day 10 -- Aug. 16, 2012

Today I am 194 pounds of rolling thunder.

Yeah, stop me if you've heard that one before.

Yesterday the temps went up and my abilities out on the road went down. The temperatures went from the 70s and low 80s to the low to mid 90s with an additional humidity build-up.

It was generally a good day, and running was a great way to blow off some stress from the world beyond the next footstep along the path of running. Sure, I walked a couple of times, but I still climbed two of the big hills that prior to the last week or so, I had not been able to run all the way up without a couple of walking breaks.

So, all in all, not a bad day on the road. Plus, I've been working a 3 p.m. to midnight shift and yesterday was my Friday, so a little fatigue may have factored in.

This was the first week for my two boys to start cross country practice. The older one has grown to enjoy running and uses it to relieve stress. The younger one does it because mom and dad won't let him come home and play video games after school -- yes, we are the meanest parents in the world.

It's a participation squad, so there are no cuts and lots of social time. The students really love the program and it numbers as one of the largest teams in the country.

Our older son was a football kid in middle school, but that quickly changed when he saw the size of high school linemen.

We went to his first time trial, sort of the lost sheep of cross country parents. We knew the distance was 5K and that our son was laboring through those first few weeks of practice. That first year he ran with his headphones in (we later learned that was against team rules, sorry) and he finished amongst the stragglers with a time well over 30 minutes.

But like many runners without much of a running background, his gains came in big lumps. Throughout the year he cut minutes off his time and as important found friends of similar pace and interests.

By the end of his junior year, our son had dropped his 5K time under 20 minutes. I'd crush walnuts barefooted to be able to do that.

Earlier this week he came home from the first day of practice having run an unexpected 2-mile time trial in just over 13 minutes. This was after eating a frozen dinner an hour before practice (he was sure it was a meet and greet with the coach and maybe a light run -- surprise!).

He ran well enough to be slotted in with the serious runners, which means tougher workouts. On the outside he's moaning, but given his goal-chasing personality I'm sure there's a part of him that's very proud.

So if you see the world's slowest human out there on the road today, just wave and smile and go home and get your running shoes on because you never know what you can do until you put your mind to it.

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